Interactive Brokers is a world-leading discount broker established back in 1978 in the United States of America. The broker serves clients all over 200 countries worldwide by investing in over 135 markets, including stocks, options, futures, currencies, metals, bonds, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Hedge Funds, Robo portfolios.
Interactive Brokers provides you with powerful technology to take complete control over your trades and leverage technology to be always one step ahead.
Interactive Brokers Review – Pros & Cons
As one of the largest forex brokers in the world and especially in the US, trading with Interactive brokers comes with a lot of benefits. However, there are some cons that you need to be aware of before you choose Interactive Brokers as your prefered broker to trade with.
Interactive Brokers Pros
- Multiple Regulations from authorities all over the world
- Top-notch technology platform across Desktop, Mobile, Tablet, Mac and Windows
- Interactive Brokers put a lot of effort into providing accurate research and analysis material
- ‘Knowledge base’ and Traders’ academy provide some of the best Trading education in the industry
- A plethora of Trading tools are provided to Interactive Brokers clients
- Demo Account is provided
- 22 Base currencies to choose from
- IBKR provide a lot of financial instruments such as Stocks, ETFs, Forex, Funds, Bonds, Options, Futures, CFDs, Cryptos, Warrants, Structured Products
- Extremely smart order router
Interactive Brokers Cons
- The website could be difficult for some to use
- Interactive Brokers charge inactivity fees
- The account opening process is somehow complicated
- The platforms of IBKR could be complex for new traders
- Interactive Brokers charge High Forex Trading Fees
- It may take up to 3 days to open an account with IBKR
- Deposit with Bank Card is not available
- PayPal is not available
- While opening an account, you may receive confusing messages through the process
- IBKR Lite customers cannot use the smart order router
Interactive Broker is Best for
- Retail Traders that want to trade with a reputable Broker
- People that extensively use Research & Data
- People that would like to trade with Margin
- Commercial Traders
- Day Traders
- Traders in the United States
- Traders that want 24-hour phone, email and chat support
Interactive Brokers Regulations
Interactive Brokers is regulated by top-tier financial authorities such as;
- Interactive Brokers U.K. Limited is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA),
- Interactive Brokers Limited is authorized and regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) as well as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
- Interactive Brokers Australia Pty. Ltd is regulated and authorized by the ASIC, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
- Interactive Brokers Canada Inc is regulated and financially authorized by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC)
- Interactive Brokers Hong Kong Limited is authorized and regulated by
- the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission
- Interactive Brokers India Pvt authorized and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (BSE).
- Interactive Brokers Luxembourg SARL is authorized and regulated by the CSSF.
- IBKR Securities Japan Inc is authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Agency (FSA).
- IBKR Singapore Pte. Ltd is authorized and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
- Interactive Brokers Ireland Limited is authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI)
- Interactive Brokers Central Europe Zrt is authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Hungary (Magyar Nemzeti Bank).
Opening an Interactive Brokers Trading Account
IBKR is one of the biggest U.S. brokers that serves clients worldwide. You can open your trading account with a minimum of $0. IBKR Trading Accounts come with various base currencies including, Australian Dollar, British Pound, Canadian Dollar, Chinese Yuan, Czech Koruna, Danish Krone, Euro, Hong Kong Dollar, Hungarian Forint, Indian Rupee (only in India), Israeli Shekel, Japanese Yen, Mexican Peso, New Zealand Dollar, Norwegian Krone Polish Zloty, Russian Rouble, Singapore Dollar, South African Rand, Swedish Krona, Swiss Franc, US Dollar.
You can choose between two plans. The IBKR LITE and IBKR PRO.
- IBKR Lite has NO minimum deposit and NO inactivity fees. It also comes with $0 commissions on US-listed stock and ETFs.
- IBKR Pro is the best choice for active traders and investors. You get access to the I.B. Smart Routing System, which does provide a $0.47/100 shares price improvement.
Below you can see some of the main differences between the two Interactive Broker Plans:
Some of the main differences between IBKR Lite and IBKR PRO are:
- IBKR Pro comes with a $10 per month maintenance fee
- IBKR Lite has a 1.5% Interest Paid on Idle Cash Balances VS 0.5 for the IBKR PRO
- IBKR Lite is not suitable for Institutional Accounts. However, it can be used by US Retail Investors, Advisors and Brokers
- Only IBKR PRO users get access to the IBKR Web Trader and the IBKR APIs
- There are some differences in Commissions. We suggest that you refer to Interactive Brokers’ website in order to find out more about the commission differences between IBKR Lite and IBKR Pro
To be honest, for the majority of retail traders, IBKR Lite should be more than enough to cover their trading needs. However, if you are an advanced or professional trader, it’s worth looking at IBKR Pro for the extra features.
As investment firms fees may vary or change, there may be additional fees that are not mentioned in our Interactive Brokers review. It’s best advised that you check the fees information directly from the Interactive Brokers website or through their support team.
Interactive Brokers Account Types
Interactive Brokers offer a plethora of accounts to both individuals and commercial traders. Below, as a part of our Interactive Brokers Review, you can find the 15 different account types along with some information for each one:
- Individual Investor or Trader
- Trust Accounts
- Registered Investment Advisor –
- Hedge Fund
- Money Manager
- Proprietary Trading Group
- Family Office
- Small Business
- Friends and Family Advisor
- Introducing Broker
- Incentive Plan Administrator
- Compliance Officer
As you can see, IBKR offers an account for each type of trader. Therefore, you will likely find a trading account that suits your needs.
Opening an IBKR trading account
Opening an account with Interactive Brokers can be done digitally. However, the process is very complicated when compared to other brokers. After completing your registration with Interactive Brokers, your application may need up to 3 days in order to be reviewed and approved. This is significantly slower than most brokers.
Based on our experience, it may need about an hour in order to fully fill in the required details and provide the necessary information for the account opening process. Also, users frequently face bugs and often resort to the support team in order to get this done.
To be able to open an account with Interactive Brokers, you will need to provide the following information:
Personal Info such as:
- Country of residence
- Phone number
- Date of birth
Furthermore, you will need to answer questions about your trading experience and your financial knowledge.
Once you finish this, you will need to:
- Choose an account type and trading platform.
- Determine the base currencies.
- Verify your identity.
To verify your identity, you will need to upload and submit:
- Verification of identity: passport – national I.D. – driver’s license
- Verification of residency: bank statement – utility bill – driver’s license – credit card statement – other documents
At last, Check your inbox! You will receive an email to follow up with the process.
Interactive Brokers Review – Funding Your Account
Interactive Brokers charges $0 on deposits. The funding methods are limited to only Bank transfers. But if you live in the USA, you can deposit via:
- Online Bill Payment
- Direct Rollover
Interactive Brokers offers its new IBKR Debit MasterCard as a deposit option for U.S. residents. If you live in Australia, You can deposit via BPAY.
Interactive Brokers has various pricing structures as the broker covers over 135 markets in over 23 countries. You can choose between;
- Transparent Volume-Tiered Pricing,
- Fixed-Rate Pricing,
- $0 Commission US Stock Trading.
Tiered Pricing is the best choice for active traders. CFDs come with a commission of 0.05%, which is a competitive one compared to the other brokers in the industry. F.X. Spreads start from 0.2 pips. The IBKR charges Overnight fees, ” Swap Rates,” and you can check the rates live on the trading platform. You have to read and compare the three pricing structure types to decide which one works for you. But in general, Interactive Brokers has one of the best pricing structures in the industry, which can fit both beginners and active traders.
IBKR Spread Information
Interactive Brokers Forex Fees which are also known as Spreads are a bit higher than most Forex Brokers. They offer Variable spreads for Forex. Interactive Brokers do not share the Forex Spreads in order for us to be able to compare them with other brokers. However, you can see the real-time quotes on their website and understand how much they are adding up as spread.
Interactive Brokers User Experience
IBKR provides its clients with powerful technology. They allow you to take complete control over your trades and always be one step ahead. Unlike many other forex brokers, Interactive Brokers developed their own Forex Trading Platforms and do not use the Industry’s standards (MT4 and MT5).
The broker has a range of trading platforms including:
- Client Portal & Web Trader: IBKR web application where you can always get updates on quotes, your trades, and live time reports.
- IBKR Trader Workstation: IBKR’s desktop platform. A powerful platform that gives you the power to control your trades. Best choice for active traders.
- IBKR Mobile: You can Access IBKR Mobile on both Android and iOS devices making it easy to trade or monitor your trades on the go.
One main disadvantage to this is that traders that are used to trading with other brokers, will need to learn the IBKR platforms before starting to trade. Another disadvantage is that if you use Interactive Brokers you won’t be able to use Expert Advisors (EAs) or other MT4 and MT5 integrations and plugins. This could be a deal-breaker for people that rely on these features to trade.
The client portal is a web-based platform that traders can use for account management and trading. It’s best for beginner traders or people that are new to Interactive Brokers. With the client portal, users can:
- View account information, portfolio, trading history, etc. All of this is displayed in real-time.
- Place orders, modify or close orders.
- Customisable charting on different timelines.
- Get access to Live news.
IB Trader Workstation (TWS)
The IBKR Trader Workstation is best suited for advanced traders who are experienced with Interactive Brokers and have good trading experience under their belt.
Some of the TWS features are:
- Trade Stocks, Options, Futures, Forex, Bonds, Funds
- Customizable charting systems
- Full reporting
- Profit and Loss Reporting
- Advanced Trade History
- Over 100 order types and Algos
- Professional news and analysis provided from Reuters, Dow Jones, Trading Central, bezinga, etc.
- Advanced Trading Tools
- Market Scanners
Using the IBKR mobile, traders can trade on the go as long as they have an internet connection. It’s available for both Android and iOS devices and users can perform the following functions:
- Get access to trade on 125 markets across the world
- 2-factor authentication to ensure security
- Easily trade multiple instruments
- Easily view scaled charts
- Get access to email notifications or push notification alerds
Interactive Brokers Awards
Since they started operating, Interactive brokers have won over a hundred awards for their services.
Some of the awards that they won are:
- #1 – Best Online Broker – 5 out of 5 stars
- #1 for Active Traders
- #1 for Information
- #1 for International
- #1 for Trading
- 5 out of 5 stars Overall
- #1 for Professionals
- #1 New Tool
- #1 for Offering of Investments
- #1 International Trading
- #1 Futures Trading
2021 Bankrate Brokerage:
- 4.5 out of 5 stars Overall
- Best for Active Trading
- Best for Margin Trading
- Best for Volume Discounts
- Best Online Broker for Bonds
- Best Online Broker for Mutual Funds
IBKR also has received many awards to recognize the quality of its services as Rated #1 – Best Online Broker for years.
Interactive Brokers Available Countries
IBKR provides its services to customers all over the world with some exceptions such as:
Also, traders in different countries may get access to different features and products because of legal restrictions and regulations.
Interactive Brokers Customer Support
IBKR provides its clients with excellent customer service to answer any inquiries you may have. You can reach technical support through a phone call, live chat, or browse their blog and FAQs, where you can look for what you want. The customer support is available 24/5 from Monday to Friday.
You can choose your native language to communicate as the broker does support; English, French, Deutsch, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean
Interactive Brokers Review Final Thoughts
IBKR is a world-leading online broker since 1978. The broker is regulated and licensed by top-tier financial authorities such as FCA, ASIC, IIROC, FSA, CSSF, and FINRA.
The broker serves clients worldwide and provides a wide range of products to trade on, including Stocks, Options, Futures, Currencies, Metals, Bonds, ETFs, Mutual Hedge Funds.
IBKR provides a powerful trading platform to control your trades with a range of advanced tools to excel in trading. Also, you have access to excellent educational resources always to be ahead. There is no minimum deposit required, so feel free to try the IBKR trading environment.